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Scientists Develop a Breathalyzer That Detects 17 Diseases With One Breath From a Patient ( 99

randomErr quotes a report from Quartz: In the last 10 years, researchers have developed specific sniff tests for diagnosing tuberculosis, hypertension, cystic fibrosis, and even certain types of cancer. A group of global researchers led by Hossam Haick at the Israel Institute of Technology have taken the idea a step further. They've built a device -- a kind of breathalyzer -- that is compact and can diagnose up to 17 diseases from a single breath of a patient. The breathalyzer has an array of specially created gold nanoparticles, which are sized at billionths of a meter, and mixed with similar-sized tubes of carbon. These together create a network that is able to interact differently with each of the nearly 100 volatile compounds that each person breaths out (apart from gases like nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide). Haick's team collected 2,800 breaths from more than 1,400 patients who were each suffering from at least one of 17 diseases (in three classes: cancer, inflammation, and neurological disorders). Each sample of the disease was then passed through the special breathalyzer, which then produced a dataset of the types of chemicals it could detect and in roughly what quantities. The team then applied artificial intelligence to the dataset to search for patterns in the types of compounds detected and the concentrations they were detected at. As they report in the journal ACS Nano, the data from the breathalyzer could be used to accurately detect that a person is suffering from a unique disease nearly nine out of ten times.
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Scientists Develop a Breathalyzer That Detects 17 Diseases With One Breath From a Patient

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  • The next Theranos? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2016 @11:35PM (#53569451)

    their promises didn't turn out so well for the investors

    • Was just thinking exactly the same thing. until there is some verified reviews of the device and the accuracy I would hope investors are smart enough this time around to steer clear. Theranos was a good lesson for many big investors.
      • There is so much wrong with your post, I don't even know where to begin. Theranos is a great idea that will eventually be very successful. Just because they had set backs doesn't detract from the importance or quality of the investment.

        The same goes for the breathalyzer. How can you hope investors stay clear of obvious future life saving technology? Are you pharmaceutical propagandists?
        • tell that to all the investors that lost millions in the theranos scam and to the judges on the pending lawsuits and class actions
  • 18 Actually (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2016 @11:38PM (#53569479)
  • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

    But can it tell if someone is drunk or under the influence of drugs? If it can this could be a nice side business for the police.

    • But the cost of jail / prison having to cover
      lung cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, gastric cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, idiopathic Parkinson’s, atypical Parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and chronic kidney disease. Is a lot more then the cost of the what the state makes of drug / dui cases.

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Oh cool so then they would be able to weed out unprofitable arrests!

        Sir we see you just plowed into a schoolbus and killed 20 people but we see you have this medical condition that's going to cost our department several milion dollars to treat just so you can stand trial so were letting you off with a warning drive safe ok?

        I think it's odd that criminals are entitled to at least a minimal amount of healthcare even if they aren't entitled to food that's not moldy.

        It might increase early detection and decreas

  • We seem to be coming closer by the day to a Star Trek tricorder.
    • Vital Technologies of Bolton, Ontario, Canada built one years ago, then promptly went bankrupt.

      They claimed they had an EM detector (in the lab, not their commercial tricorder product) sensitive enough to detect the human nervous system at a distance.

    • Either that or we have just found new and more innovative methods to fleece rich investors of money, see Theranos or cold fusion in a shipping container, the article reads like a marketing slide for investors with zero 3rd party verification and the statement that they need more research and development to get the accuracy and bring to market. I hope they are real as such a device could be of massive benefit but I would not hold my breath till I see some proof from someone other than themselves.
  • If you drunk so much that it's resulted in 17 diseases, then you have a serious drinking problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A country that does so much good, I knew that's where that good news was coming from. It's a real shame that they just got sucker punched by the lame ducker.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2016 @11:59PM (#53569563)

    is "nanometer" outside the vocabulary range of their normal readers? o_O

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What is a "meter" anyway?

      How much is it in nanoinches?

      -- an american

      • What is a "meter" anyway?

        It's a milli-"click".

      • Americans use "thousandths," referring to one thousandth of an inch. Beyond that we use metric measurements: microns, nanometers, and so forth. Yes, it's ridiculous that we didn't persevere with the push to switch to metric back in the 70's.
  • The first step (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Thursday December 29, 2016 @02:15AM (#53569963)

    I've been working in this field for a long time. If you look around the literature, you'll see my name on several papers on nanoelectronic detection of disease via breath. This is a great demo, and Haik is a very good guy in this field, but he's done only the easiest part. I've learned the hard way that publishing an academic paper and making something that doctors actually would buy to make treatment decisions are completely different things. This is the first step in the development process, not the last.

    In this case, there are already medical breath tests, and entire clinics devoted to this kind of medical test (without the nanotech part). The tools are already cleared for use, and medical doctors have protocols and billing methods for using them. If the key part of this is really those 13 compounds, there's no need for nano wizardry; use the mass spec or whatever that the clinic already has. That's really the key here, why would anyone use his device, and not just his results? Often in sensor research, we don't understand the distinction there when the results get us such great publications and press. The grant manager paid for the nanotechnology (and the citations that come with it), but everyone else is interested in the medicine.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That way i would feel safer on one night stands and fucking hookers.

  • A fart would probably tell them a lot more.

    If my buddies are any indication, they died years ago from various loathsome diseases, and are sending back evidence to their still-ambulatory bodies about what the air is like in hell.

    Or maybe China.

  • Some diseases have an incubation period of thirty and more years. But they can be diagnosed very early by modern medical tools and be a good source of an income for doctors and clinics.
  • They just have a hard time communicating the results. Somebody should work on that part.
  • That's nice, but I'll settle for a breathalyzer that can be scrutinized by anyone but the manufacturer in court. I'm not sure I trust a DUI conviction to a black box nobody can look inside including the courts.
  • I can't necessarily comment on other diseases in the list, but it's absurd to claim that a person's blood-pressure is detectable by breath.

    The smart money says this is fake.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane